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Reading Recovery: A Scientifically Based Analysis - page 17 / 21





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Research Council report, Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children, which

specifically outlined many of these concerns (Snow et al., 1998, pp. 255-258), the

National Reading Panel report, the New Zealand Ministry of Education, and various

reviews suggesting that such steps would greatly benefit students who are placed in

Reading Recovery. In summary, the Reading First initiative, recently enacted into law as

part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002, requires the use of scientifically based

classroom reading instruction for all students. Even with the best classroom instruction,

there will still be some students who don’t make adequate progress and need additional,

more intensive instruction. Reading Recovery has not met the needs of these lowest

performing students. Most significantly, its excessive costs can make it more difficult for

a school to provide help for all students in need, especially those who are behind in the

upper grades. No single method works with all students. Methods like Reading Recovery

that are rigidly implemented and limited in the number of components of effective

reading instruction will not work with all students. A recent study by a group from New

Zealand (Chapman, Tunmer, & Prochnow, 2001) shows that students in Reading

Recovery may experience problems with self-esteem when they do not perform well.

Altogether, several studies indicate that teacher: student groupings of 1:3 work as

well as groupings of 1:1 (Elbaum et al., 2000). Many of the current NICHD and OSEP

pullout interventions utilize group sizes of 1:3 and higher. Thus, solely by virtue of the

number of students who can be reached, Reading Recovery is at least 200% more

expensive than other first grade interventions. Reading Recovery specifically states that it

is not a program for groups, but provides little empirical support for this philosophy. This

philosophy is inconsistent with the research on early intervention.

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